A&P Questions and Answers
by John Updike

A&P book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What are some examples of connotation in "A & P" by John Updike?

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write11,048 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Words can have two kinds of meanings, denotative and connotative. Denotative meanings are the strict literal meanings of a word. Connotative meanings are the added emotional weight certain words have. A common example is the difference between the words frugal and cheap. Both mean the same thing, being careful about money, but the connotative or emotional meaning of cheap is far more negative, implying a character flaw, than the connotative meaning of frugal.

Because we see the story of "A&P" through the eyes of Sammy, his emotional reaction to what he is seeing colors his thoughts and therefore affects the words he uses. For instance, the connotations of the words he picks to describe his manager, Lengel, show Sammy's negative opinion of him. Sammy states:

Lengel comes in from haggling with a truck full of cabbages on the lot and is about to scuttle into that door marked MANAGER behind which he hides all day when the girls touch his eye.

Using the word "haggling" instead of bargaining or...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 905 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jay Gilbert, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer

bookB.A. from University of Oxford

bookM.A. from University of Oxford

bookPh.D. from University of Leicester


calendarEducator since 2017

write2,274 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial